Presentation Tools Guide for 2017: How to Make Killer Slides

For more than 25 years, Microsoft's PowerPoint has dominated the market like a colossus. Now, there's a new wave of presentation tools that let startups create killer slides — even if they lack basic design skills. Here are seven of the best.

Slidebean

Slidebean is a web-based platform that creates stunning presentations. Everything is included — pre-filled decks, templates, fonts, etc. — and there's a large focus on the startup market with slide decks for elevator pitches, seed funding, and crowdsourcing. Users can backup slides in the cloud and don't need to download any software.

Slidebean produces elevator pitches much quicker than PowerPoint. Users just need to add their content and the platform does the rest of the work. For those all-important finishing touches, Slidebean boasts loads of customization options, such as stock photos, GIFs, graphs, and charts. There's extensive customer support, too.

With more than 150,000 users and 250,000 slides, Slidebean has become one of the biggest slide presentations sites online. In short, this platform lets users create decks on demand without any of the fuss.

Sign up to Slidebean for free here. Or check out amazing elevator pitch examples here

Google Slides

Google Slides is built for collaboration, with various tools that let users work on projects from separate locations. Everything's continuously saved in the cloud, so startups can access their slides wherever they are in the world. Although Google Slides is web-based, users are also able to edit documents offline.

Startups just need a Google account to get started. Google Slides' interface is easy to navigate, and users can access different features by clicking on the menu options — Edit, View, Format, Tools, etc. — at the top of the screen. They can leave comments for other users, too. Other features include chart embeds and a spell check.

Google Slides' templates are limited and the tool lacks the customization features found in some other presentation tools. However, this platform lets businesses share and edit documents in real time.

Keynote

Apple released the latest incarnation of Keynote — Keynote 7.0 — in September 2016, and the software brims with new features. Users can backup slides to the cloud and access documents from the Mac, iPad or iPhone. Then there are the templates, which let users fill in content in mere minutes. 

Keynote comes with graphs and tables and charts, and users can choose from 3D effects like flipping pages and rolling cubes — perfect for transitioning from one slide to the next. For those who want to add video to their slideshows, Keynote supports all QuickTime formats, including DV and MPEG-2. Other features include dual monitor support and Apple Remote compatibility. This software is also PowerPoint-friendly.

Keynote takes a while to work out, especially for someone who hasn't designed a slide deck before. Still, users can edit their documents in their internet browser through iWork for iCloud. Using this platform, multiple users can work on the same document at the same time. Users can see who is working on a spreadsheet in real-time, too. 

LibreOffice Impress

LibreOffice Impress is no-frills presentation software that packs a punch. There are templates and extensions that take all the hard work out of presentation design, and users can import files to and from Keynote. The software's Fontworks tool lets users produce 2D and 3D images from text, too.

LibreOffice Impress lets businesses insert various elements into their slide deck, including photos, charts, audio files, and videos. The tool is really easy to use — even for beginners. The menus at the top of the interface — File, Edit, Insert, View, etc. — are similar to the programs in Microsoft's Office suite. For those who need a little more help, Libre Office Impress provides various customer support options.

Users need to download LibreOffice Impress onto their computer, and the software's interface looks a little dated. Plus, the tool only has 10 template backgrounds and four full templates to choose from. Still, this program provides startups with the basic tools they need to create versatile slides when a presentation looms.

WPS Presentation

Formerly known as Kingsoft Office, WPS Presentation is free presentation software that's similar to Microsoft PowerPoint. All the familiar formatting tools are there — color fill, find, review, view, etc. — and the software is compatible with PPT and PPTX files. Most people will find the transition from PowerPoint to WPS Presentation a smooth one.

Startups can create elevator pitches for fund-raising and lead generation, with a range of templates that bring slides to life. Other features include support for Flash SWF and various video formats. Users can also turn documents into PDF files and view multiple documents at the same time. File Roaming, another feature, saves files from a user's laptop, desktop or mobile device to the cloud. 

Unlike some of the other slideshow tools out there, WPS Presentation isn't web-based, so users need to download the software onto their computer. However, this program is lightweight and simple and serves startups that just want the basics. There's a number of customer service options for customers who get stuck when designing their slides, too.

Prezi

With more than 75 million users, Prezi is one of the most-used presentation tools out there right now. This platform lets startups create stunning pitch decks from scratch, with a wealth of useful features available. Users can add text, videos, audio, and charts, and add depth to their presentations. The result? Eye-catching slides for fundraising and exposure. 

Other features include analytics, which let users discover how customers and clients interact with their slide decks online. They can find out which slides were the most popular, for example, and how long people spent reading their presentation.

Some users might find the software difficult to use. There's a huge, infinite canvas which serves as the working area, for example. However, Prezi's customer support will alleviate any concerns. Users can browse a knowledge base, watch video tutorials, talk to other users in the Prezi community or contact a member of staff. 

Canva 

Canva is a presentation tool that bursts with features. Startups can share slides with clients in real-time and customize documents with videos and stock photos. They can even send presentations to smartphones, so clients can read slide decks on the go. Users can also generate posters, cards, invitations, and website graphics.

There are various templates that make presentation creation easy, and users can utilize the drag and drop feature to arrange content on their slides. Canva provides free video training courses, too, which are full of tips and techniques that help startups create sizzling slides. Users can find out how to use text, shadows, and fonts to make their presentations more professional, or learn how to incorporate graphs and charts. 

Canva has a very basic interface and limited slide deck design options compared to some of the other tools out there. This is great for startups that have never created a presentation before but might disappoint those who crave more advanced features.

Takeaway

The seven presentation tools on this list let startups design, edit and share slide decks for that all important presentation. Businesses can use these platforms to raise capital, brainstorm ideas, and attract new clients and customers. Research shows the power of a good presentation, but only great software can improve a startup's chances for success.  


 
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